Florida warns of chaos for homeowners if 17 property insurance companies have ratings downgraded

(WFLA) — In four days, a ratings agency plans to downgrade 17 property insurance companies in Florida, according to state officials.

State leaders warn financial chaos will follow and millions of Floridians could be impacted.

8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi reached out to several agencies to obtain the list of at-risk companies. As of Friday night, the state is not disclosing the list.

If the downgrades happen as planned, millions of Floridians will be in default of their mortgage requirements.

Insurance brokers told 8 On Your Side homeowners will be given a few months to find acceptable coverage.

If they can’t, their mortgage company would force them to accept a new policy with a new carrier.

Bottom line — homeowners will end up paying twice the price for half the coverage, multiple insurance experts said.

Ronald Assise CIC, CPRM is an insurance broker.

“With force-placed insurance, the only party protected is the mortgage company,” he said. “So you’re paying an outrageous premium and basically getting no coverage.”

If Demotech doesn’t back down under pressure can anything be done? That’s the question 8 On Your Side had for State Sen.

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17 property insurance companies face ratings downgrade in Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — More than a dozen property insurance companies are set to have their ratings downgraded in Florida.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation confirmed to 8 On Your Side Thursday that 17 insurance companies total are going to be downgraded by the rating agency Demotech. Industry experts say that downgrade will impact hundreds of thousands of families across Florida – including in the Tampa Bay area.

Mortgage providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require homeowners to have a policy with an A-rated company. Anyone who has a policy with any of the 17 companies that will be losing its A-rating could be forced to find a new policy – potentially one that could cost more and provide less coverage.

8 On Your Side is working to find out which companies are having their ratings downgraded.

Meanwhile, Demotech’s decision to downgrade the companies is being challenged by the FOIR. Commissioner David Altmaier is requesting the rating agency reconsider the conclusions they’ve reached about the viability of the companies.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office sent the following statement after the announcement was made:

“We share the concerns expressed by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis and the Office

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Sonoma County homeowners jolted with insurance hikes as a result of wildfire risk

Lesley Muller said her jaw dropped when she got her renewal notice from the carrier that insures her Cloverdale home. The bill increased by $700 annually to $2,200.

“When I got it, it shocked me,” said Muller, a retiree whose insurer also covers her family’s cars and a home in Arizona.

She called up her insurance broker who checked with five other carriers that all declined to make an offer and said the only other option would be the state FAIR plan, which is the state’s insurer of last resort. That option would be considerably more expensive for less coverage.

“So, what do you do? Pay the high premium!” added Muller, who declined to name the carrier to prevent any repercussions.

She’s not alone.

Greg Lucas of Santa Rosa said his bill originally went up about 50% to $2,150 annually from CSAA Insurance. He checked around but could find no better deal and ended up reducing the price to about 25% spike by upping his deductible and lowering the amount of personal property coverage.

Torben Moller of Windsor renewed his policy at a 50% increase and added he “can’t complain too loudly” because wildfires have driven risk for carriers

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Citizens drops Florida property insurance policies

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has started dropping policies of some homeowners across Florida because the estimated price of replacing their homes after a storm or fire would now exceed a $700,000 replacement value cap.

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has started dropping policies of some homeowners across Florida because the estimated price of replacing their homes after a storm or fire would now exceed a $700,000 replacement value cap.

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Rising inflation has cost hundreds of Florida homeowners citizens-policies-dropped-due-to-700k-cap-20220713-fcr7gc6tt5bgjecikjg3efrywu-story.html”access to affordable property insurance.

New data provided by state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s “insurer of last resort,” shows that the company dropped 2,267 policies statewide during the 12-months ending June 30 because their homes’ replacement value exceeded $700,000.

That’s the company’s eligibility cap in all counties except Miami-Dade and Monroe, where Citizens can insure homes valued up to $1 million.The caps could be increased in Broward, Palm Beach and other counties if a new study by the state Office of Insurance Regulation finds that homeowners lack access to affordable coverage from private market insurers and have little choice except Citizens. In Broward County over the past year, Citizens sent notices of non-renewal to 617 homes with replacement values exceeding the $700,000 eligibility cap. In Palm Beach County, 454 were dropped.

Read the full story here.

This story was originally published July 13, 2022 5:35 PM.

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COVID at-home tests are free through your insurance. Yes, really.

As the U.S. faces another surge in COVID-19 cases, Americans on most insurance plans can get up to eight rapid tests per month at no cost to help detect infection and prevent further spread.

Insurance companies have been required to cover the tests authorized by the FDA since January, when the Biden administration put the federal requirement for private health insurers into effect.

Not everyone can get free COVID tests; millions of military families covered by the Defense health program Tricare can’t get them covered without an order from a health care provider for now, but Medicare members began taking advantage of the rule in April.

Here’s what to know:

COVID-19 CASES ON THE RISE:What to know about the current state of the pandemic

Who can get free COVID tests?

Each person covered as part of a qualifying insurance program is entitled to up to eight free at-home tests over-the-counter every 30 days. That means a family of four could get up to 32 tests. Plans are required to cover $12 per individual test, or $24 for a box of two.

How can you get them?

Some insurance plans will cover tests sold at in-network pharmacies at

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